Nothing helps you sink into that summer state of mind like a perfect summer read.
Here is a list of books set in summer that may be the perfect complement to the heat wave set to hit the Inland Northwest this week, so you can at least imagine you’re sweating profusely in some picturesque fictional world.
“Dandelion Wine,” by Ray Bradbury – A collection of short stories that together weave a mosaic of an idyllic midwestern town in the summer of 1928. It is a summer of new sneakers, half-burnt firecrackers, lost love, local mysteries, and of course jars and jars of golden dandelion wine.
“We Were Liars,” by E. Lockhart – A haunting young adult novel that has since received critical acclaim and popularity across age groups. It follows the wealthy Sinclair family who religiously spend each summer on their private island. One summer, Candace suffers a head injury and the secrets from a seemingly perfect family begin to float to the surface.
“Atonement,” by Ian McEwan – Beginning the summer of 1935, this novel stretches over World War II and into present-day England. 13 year-old Briony witnesses a moment of flirtation, so she assumes, and it sparks her imagination only to lead to an accusation that will alter the lives of those around her.
“Prodigal Summer,” by Barbara Kingsolver – An interweaving of three stories that center on love and live in the struggling farms of rural Appalachia.
“Firefly Summer,” by Maeve Binchy – A rich developer threatens to end the Ryan children’s tradition of spending summer playing among the ruins of a once-grand house that sits quietly along a river bank. But it isn’t just new development that threatens the life this quiet village once knew, but also the dying out of traditional living and old values.
“The Door Marked Summer,” by Michael Bentine – Inspired by his father’s extensive paranormal research, British comedian Michael Bentine writes of his own paranormal experiences as well as musings on parapsychology.
“Summer,” by Edith Wharton – Once the subject of scandal due to its realism and candor, this book follows a naïve girl who falls into a passionate romance with an ambitious city boy. She feels haunted by her humble past and previous relationship.
“Light in August,” by William Faulkner – A Southern Gothic classic set in the interwar period. The loose structure of this story is told in a series of flashbacks, slowly revealing a connection between two strangers, a pregnant woman trying to find the father of her unborn child and a drifter who lives between white and Black society.
“Hot Milk,” by Deborah Levy – A young anthropologist journeys with her mother to the sun soaked coast of southern Spain in search of a clinic that may have the cure to her mother’s paralysis.
“A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” by Betty Smith – A coming-of-age story set at the turn of the century, which follows young Francie Nolan as she explores life from the slums of Williamsburg. Her daily life tells a story of compassion, heartache, laughter and cruelty and ultimately paints a portrait of universal human experiences.
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